Mandatory Credit: Photo by Artie Walker Jr/AP/Shutterstock (13486702h) Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher gestures during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C Texas A M South Carolina Football, Columbia, United States – 22 Oct 2022
Texas A&M (3-7) vs. UMass (1-9)
Game time: 11 a.m. CT
TV/radio: ESPN+/SiriusXM 191
What’s at stake: Not much. This season is already a dumpster fire for Texas A&M.
When the Aggies have the ball:
Earlier this week, Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said, “we’re not in disarray on our team.” The Aggies will run onto Kyle Field Saturday riding a six-game losing streak, having not experienced a win in 56 days. If that doesn’t spell disarray for an A&M program that finds itself dead last in the SEC standings, Jimbo’s definition of disarray may differ from Webster’s.
Jimbo Fisher- the once-proclaimed ‘quarterback guru’ whose offensive mind led the Florida State Seminoles to a national title, has found rough waters for the first time since arriving in College Station. A&M has eclipsed 24 points of scoring only twice this season (Sam Houston/Ole Miss).
Jimbo’s Aggies rank 98th nationally in terms of total offense, only averaging 350 yards of production per game. A matchup with an Independent FBS school would typically be the time to experiment, hammer out any kinks, and prepare for bowl season. Jimbo and the Aggies have found no rhythm or consistency on offense this season-meaning no time to experiment. Kinks? There are plenty to ‘hammer out’, but A&M has been trying to do that for six weeks. Bowl season? There won’t be one for Texas A&M.
Fisher and the Aggie offense should have two objectives entering their matchup with UMass:
- End the horrendous six-game losing streak. This is the first time in collegiate football history that a program with the top-ranked recruiting class for the year will finish with a losing record.
- Continue to develop/evaluate five-star freshman quarterback Conner Weigman.
When UMass has the ball:
The Aggie defense was keeping games close early this year despite an insufferable Jimbo Fisher offense that has seen three different quarterbacks. What was at one time a ‘bright spot’ for A&M in 2022, the Texas A&M defense has had its fair share of struggles, particularly in its efforts to stop the run.
|RB Cartavious ‘Tank’ Bigsby (Auburn)
|121 Yards (5.3 avg)
|RB Jarquez Hunter (Auburn)
|121 Yards (9.3 avg)
|RB Montrell Johnson (Florida)
|100 Yards (4.5 avg)
|RB Quinshon Judkins (Ole Miss)
|205 Yards (6.0 avg)
A&M is allowing 221 yards per game on the ground to their opponents. Only five FBS programs are currently giving up more rushing yards on a game-to-game basis. Without question, Massachusetts will have a game plan entering Kyle Field that involves a heavy dose of running the football. That will be sweet music to the ears of running back Ellis Merriweather, the leading rusher for the Minutemen.
Merriweather will most likely be arriving in Aggieland with a pep in his step after having his best game of the season last week against Arkansas State. The UMass running back rushed for 122 yards (4.2 avg) and made two trips to the end zone. The Massachusetts coaching staff will undoubtedly be looking to lean on their bell cow back.
Key Aggies to watch:
QB Conner Weigman
A good description for the five-star quarterback’s first two collegiate starts? Jekyll and Hyde. In his first start, Weigman threw for an impressive 338 yards with four touchdowns. Last week was not as spectacular.
After throwing for only 121 yards against Auburn, the young buck QB should be itching to run back out onto Kyle Field in front of the 12th Man.
WR Moose Muhammad III
That has been the story for Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M football program since spring-well before the Aggies’ disastrous season started. The dramatics continued over the last week, beginning with A&M’s second-leading receiver, Moose Muhammad, being benched for the entirety of last week’s Auburn game …
For wearing sleeves.
You read that right. Moose was reportedly benched for wearing sleeves under his jersey- something that head coach Jimbo Fisher does not like his skill position players to do.
Meanwhile, the freshman QB Conner Weigman walked into Jordan-Hare Stadium for his first collegiate start on the road. His first experience of SEC play in enemy territory.
Surely Weigman wouldn’t need his second-leading receiver … Right?
I expect targets early and often in the direction of Moose.
The bottom line:
Former Auburn running back Cadillac Williams led the Tigers to a victory over Texas A&M last week. Former Colts center Jeff Saturday coached Indianapolis to a win over the Raiders just five days ago. Texas A&M has Jimbo Fisher.
An Aggie win on Saturday versus UMass is expected (A&M currently 33-point favorites), as it should be. Jimbo will need to get his program back into the win column this week. Frankly, even with a ‘convincing’ win for Fisher and the Ags against UMass won’t cool down the hot seat for A&M’s head coach. The temperature is rising, and Jimbo’s chair is close to catching fire.
It’s time for Coach Fisher to realize he’s like the rest of us. He has strengths. He has weaknesses. Jimbo is still recruiting at an extremely high level (i.e., the historic recruiting class for A&M before the 2022 season). However, his offense is stale, dated, predictable, and ultimately isn’t yielding results. Jimbo has two games left this year, but he should already be building his shortlist of candidates to bring in as a fresh-minded offensive coordinator for 2023.
Texas A&M 37, Massachusetts 13